That would be alcohol, so says former government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt in an article he co wrote and which is published in today’s Lancet. This startling claim certainly had me spraying a mouthful of my morning G&T all over the TV screen as Prof Nutt discussed his findings on this mornings BBC Breakfast program.
His claim seems largely based on the fact that alcohol is more widely used than heroin and no one in their right mind would argue with that fact. But does that make it more harmful? More people in the UK damage their health eating junk food than take heroin. Does that mean that cheeseburgers are more harmful than heroin? He then went on to justify his earlier claims regarding the reclassification of drugs. In what could only have been an experiment into what happens when you start saying things at the exact same moment you disengage your brain, he stated “if some class A drugs are decriminalised, the crime rate will go down”. I guess that would be in the same way that if you decriminalised rape, murder and theft, the crime rate would go down.
This week I will be announcing my “over statement of the blatantly obvious” award. I’d suggest Professor Nutt starts work on an acceptance speech.